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Elite bodybuilders like Jay Cutler need more food in one day than most of us eat in two. Or three. You may not be 280 pounds of muscular mayhem, but if you want to gain size, you need to be ready to eat, and then continuously ask for more. Many lifters think the size battle is won or lost in the gym, but the diet is what separates the beasts from the boys.
Learn how Jay Cutler eats, check out what he eats, and take home some nutrition lessons from the man himself. Take in the right food in the right amounts at the right times, and you'll be a mass monster in the making. Let the metamorphosis begin.
Living Large Eat Large
Watch The Video - 13:14
He trains hard, he works hard, but more than anything, Jay Cutler eats. A lot. "Cooking and eating is five to six hours of my day, no question," Jay says. "If you follow me around for a day or two, you'll see that most of my time is spent eating meals."
Food is Jay's biggest expense, his biggest time-sink—and one of the main reasons he's been so monumentally successful. Eating so much so often is Jay's biggest challenge. "The hardest part about being the competitive bodybuilder Jay Cutler is the amount of calories I need to eat," he says.
Most bodybuilders love to eat; they crave food. Not Jay: "I have zero cravings and zero anticipation for any meal. I don't look forward to food." Jay may not love it, but he still has to eat every three hours. He eats at midnight, again at three a.m., and then he eats his breakfast at six a.m. "The consumption of food remains consistent, and I still can't eat enough," Jay says.
When he's training for a contest, Jay likes to stay home to prepare his food, leaving nothing to chance. "I like to weigh everything," he says. "[Precontest], I take my diet very seriously."
Nonetheless, Jay's immense caloric expenditure means he eats food that most clean eaters would avoid. "Having a turkey sandwich and some potato chips is great for me," he says. "I'll have a Snickers bar every once in a while." To keep his size, Jay also needs a pretty consistent fuel of insulin-stoking simple carbohydrates. "Dense, fibrous carbs don't hit my body hard enough."
He may not like having to eat as much or as often as he does, but Jay has the experience and willpower to do it well. It is his mental toughness that makes him not only a physical specimen but also a warrior at the mental game.
5 Tips to Eat Large
1Nutrition Always Wins
You can kill yourself in the gym all day long, but if you don't have the nutrition to back it up, you'll never see mass gains. "I tell people to put as much effort into their diet as they do into their weight training," Jay says. Whether an athlete, bodybuilder, or fitness enthusiast, your job includes eating the right number of carbs, protein, and healthy fats.
"Supplements can give you an advantage," Jay says. "You have to find ways to budget and be able to fit that extra stuff in there." Beginners don't necessarily need fancy products. For most people, a tub of protein powder and a multivitamin will do just fine. For more advanced athletes, pre-workouts, BCAAs, and fat burners may help those fitness goals come to life a little faster.
3Schedule Time For Meals
Most people who want to build muscle simply eat too little. Although it might be difficult on a busy schedule, scheduling time to eat is essential. "The average person needs at least five meals [per day]," Jay declares. Unless you're a pro bodybuilder, you don't have to spend eight hours of your day preparing and eating meals, but even the average Joe needs the right number of calories to build serious muscle.
4Learn From Experts
"I think I've had the best advisors from the day I started," Jay explains. "I think it's good to hire someone who has some knowledge about nutrition. You might as well do it right because the nutrition is more important than the weight training." You may not be able to afford an actual nutritionist, but you can do research and learn as much as you can about which foods have the right effect on your body. Your success may depend on it.
5Carbs Aren't Evil
If you want to get big, you need to eat carbs. Building muscle takes the right combination of macronutrients. It's not a "protein-only" magic trick. Jay needs simple carbs to keep his muscles full. "I can't eat just oatmeal and egg whites or fish," he says. "I can't do it. I shrink. I need a lot of simple carbs." To grow, you can't skimp out on any macronutrient. You need the right ratio.
Eat Large Plan
As Jay Cutler preps for the 2013 Mr. Olympia, his weight will fluctuate between 260-270 pounds of ripped muscle. Maintaining this extreme level of low-fat mass means pounding down a lot of quality calories. Jay's body is a nutrient-shuttling machine fed by large amounts of protein and carbohydrates, coupled with limited fats. You probably don't weigh as much as Jay, so you won't eat the same daily totals, but you can follow Jay's nutrient distribution and textbook approach to mass-making nutrition.
How much is "a lot?" Jay eats roughly 4,700 calories per day. At his current weight, that means Jays devours 17-18 calories per pound every day of the week. He eats more than 1.5 grams of carbohydrates and protein per pound, and roughly 0.3-0.5 grams of fat per pound.
Eat Large Calculator
Jay's diet is built around a 40/40/20 macronutrient ratio. In other words, his daily diet comprises 40 percent protein, 40 percent carbohydrates, and 20 percent fat. Jay doesn't follow these amounts exactly, but he comes pretty darn close.
To build your own mass-terpiece physique, simply tailor Jay's macro breakdown and calorie spread to your current weight. The nutrition calculator below will help you establish a bulking baseline. It will provide a muscle-building diet based on your weight, 17.5 calories per pound, and a 40/40/20 macronutrient ratio.
You might have to tinker with the specifics and fine-tune the details, but Jay's daily meal plan below will help you scale your meals to match the master's. Get ready to eat big, lift big, and get big. Get ready to crack some sidewalks.
Jay's Daily Meal Plan
- Whole Eggs
- Cutler Nutrition Total Protein
- Egg Whites
- Ezekiel Bread
- Cutler Nutrition Big T
- Image Sports VEIN
Carbohydrate: 487 g
Fat: 95 g
Protein: 469 g